After USDA confirmed two cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds in Washington State and in a small backyard poultry flock in Oregon during the week of Dec. 14, the agency says the decision of a few countries to restrict U.S. poultry imports is contrary to World Animal Health Organization (OIE) standards.
In a statement this week, the agency said OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern.
In this case, USDA says the countries' trade decisions are more restrictive than necessary for U.S. poultry imports, including, in a few instances, bans on imports of all U.S. poultry and poultry products.
"We disagree with these actions and are taking a number of steps to address them and help support the U.S. poultry industry," USDA noted in its statement. The agency said it is in communication with trading partners to share more information on detections of avian influenza in Oregon and Washington, and is sharing surveillance, which has not detected highly pathogenic avian influenza in any commercial U.S. poultry.
"We will press trading partners in the coming days to bring their import restrictions in line with OIE guidelines and the information we have provided them," the statement said.
USDA reminds consumers that no human cases with these viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally, and there is no immediate public health concern as a result of these detections.